Preparing for Marine boot camp is a vigorous task for anyone, but for a Washington County man, the journey included losing 200 pounds. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Maria Valvanis is at the Watervliet Arsenal with his motivational story.
WATERVLIET, N.Y. -- Pound after pound after pound Chris Ruckert kept his eyes on his goal. Now all of that hard work has paid off as he becomes one step closer to making his dreams a reality.
"I've been dreaming of this since I was a kid," said Ruckert.
It's the dream of becoming a Marine that brought 40 men and women from around the Capital Region together Saturday for one last physical check, before they head off to boot camp. A journey thats far from easy for anyone, but included a couple hundred extra obstacles for a Hartford man, 24.
"Last October I was 400 pounds, and my current weight is 211," said Ruckert.
"He wanted to be a Marine so bad he lost all the weight to fit under the window to go to boot camp. So that takes a lot of desire right there," said Sgt. Maj. Gerald Saunders.
Chris Ruckert has had that desire, since he was a little kid.
Ruckert said, "The Marine Corps has been an important factor of changing American History, and I wanted to be a part of that factor. I wanted to join that brotherhood and feel that closeness that all Marines feel."
Saturday was just a small taste of what Chris has been training for, but boot camp won't be as much of a shock to him as it will for many of his fellow brothers and sisters.
Dr. Gerber said, "We put him on a food plan, it's basically like boot camp. He's blossomed into such a human beyond belief it's exciting to see what he's become in eleven months."
But Chris says, the exciting part is the journey that lays ahead. He'll leave for boot camp on Parris Island in South Carolina next month, and once that's behind him, his dream becomes a reality.
Ruckert said, "If you set your mind to it and stay true to yourself, you can accomplish anything you want."
When Chris gets back from Parris Island, he'll begin infantry training. He says he hopes by sharing his story he'll inspire others to realize that no dream is out of reach.